Muslims, Hindus and Christians honour Catholic doctor

A man Philanthropist Gareth Morgan calls New Zealand’s own Mother Teresa has died in Bangladesh.

Edric Baker was an inspirational New Zealand medical doctor who worked in an isolated rural area in northern Bangladesh for 35  years.

His vision of ‘health care for the poor by the poor’ led him to set up of the Kailakuri Health Centre.

The centre provided care for the poor free of charge, regardless of creed or race.

People used to call him “doctor bhai”, i.e. “brother doctor”.

His funeral was attended by thousands of Christians, Muslims and Hindus.

Many of those at the funeral recalled how he won the hearts and minds of people through his love.

People were struck by his kindness and saw that his goodness was due to his Christian faith.

He spread the Gospel through his service.

Kailakuri has 92 staff members, of whom Edric was the only one with any formal medical qualifications.

Everybody else has been trained on the job.

All staff take part in weekly training and re-training sessions.

Edric was head trainer, consultant and Medical Officer in Charge.

Currently the Centre is providing health services annually:

  • 20,000 poor out patients
  • Very ill inpatients — 11,000 bed nights
  • 1,119 diabetics
  • 89 tuberculosis sufferers
  • 700 pregnant and young mothers in 17 villages

Born in 1941, Baker obtained a medical degree from Otego Medical College in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1965.

He then joined a government medical team and served in war-ravaged Vietnam.

He went to Bangladesh in 1979 and worked in a Christian mission hospital in southern Bangladesh for two years.

He later moved to a hospital in Tangail and worked there for eight months.

In 1983, he joined a clinic run by the Church of Bangladesh, and learned Bangla to better understand his patients.

With funds from friends in New Zealand, Europe and the United States, Baker set up the medical center in 1996 and ran it through private donations.


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